What Causes Vulvodynia?

Vulvodynia is not caused by an active infection or a sexually transmitted disease. Through continued research efforts, we move closer to discovering the underlying cause(s) of vulvodynia. Researchers speculate that one or more of the following may cause, or contribute to, vulvodynia:

  • An injury to, or irritation of, the nerves that transmit pain from the vulva to the spinal cord
  • An increase in the number and sensitivity of pain-sensing nerve fibers in the vulva
  • Elevated levels of inflammatory substances in the vulva
  • An abnormal response of different types of vulvar cells to environmental factors such as infection or trauma
  • Genetic susceptibility to chronic vestibular inflammation, chronic widespread pain and/or inability to combat infection
  • Pelvic floor muscle weakness, spasm or instability